Ketel One has a long and proud heritage. It was started in 1691 in Schiedam, Hollland by Joannes Nolet and has been passed from father to son for over three hundred years. We are looking forward to the day that it passes to a daughter as well given the increasing role of women in distilling and the industry. Ketel One historically produced a dutch spirit genever, which reminds me of a cross between vodka and gin but comes in many different styles and ages. In 1983, Carolus Nolet, the 10th Nolet to run Ketel One developed Ketel One’s recipe for its famous vodka. In 2000, Ketel One launched the Ketel One Citroen at the beginning of the flavored vodka craze.
Ketel One’s headquarters still remain in Schiedam Holland. We would highly recommend a trip. Early in its annuals, DOTW took a trip to Schiedam. This was a few years after we started the site and a few years before the cocktail renaissance began in earnest in the United States and elsewhere. This isn’t to say that there weren’t pockets around the world though. We had been on a trip to Amsterdam and obviously loved booze. We read about Schiedam and how most Dutch distillers were located there. We made a journey and were awed when we stepped off the train and saw a line of the biggest windmills we had ever seen. Unbeknownst to us at that time, one of them belonged to Ketel One and had been built in 1794 and its nicknamed “the whale” if that tells you anything about its size. The windmills both hold grain used in the production of booze and provide energy. The Genever Museum is also amazing! If you are in the area, make sure you go – it’s super easy to get to on the rail and the old city is charming and walkable
Here is our tasting notes for the Ketel One Citroen:
Appearance: Clear, bright, crystal clear with a silvery sheen
Nose: Clean, youthful with a medium plus intensity of lemon and grain
Palate: Dry, medium body, alcohol fortified to high, no aging, medium plus notes of lemon and grain
Rating: Very good. The Ketel One Citroen is balanced with a blend of the vodka base and the lemons. The lemon flavor is well integrated, tastes natural (it doesn’t have that artificial flavor) and isn’t overwhelming. It enhances in a cocktail versus overwhelms. The alcohol could have been better integrated as you can feel it on the palate, but we freely concede that isn’t the easiest thing to do when producing an 80 proof spirit that doesn’t age. Try in a Lemon Drop.